Medicare Drug Premiums Set to Soar

Seven of 10 top plans will jump by double digits: analysts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 25, 2012 7:17 AM CDT
Updated Sep 25, 2012 7:35 AM CDT
In this Feb. 20, 2008, file photo, a shopper walks toward the pharmacy at a Little Rock, Ark., Walmart store.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

(Newser) – Seniors covered by top Medicare prescription drug plans may want to start looking elsewhere for coverage: Seven of the top 10 plans will see double-digit premium hikes next year, according to a private firm's analysis. The Obama administration was technically right to say the average premium for basic drug plans won't rise, but the fact is that "every year the market changes," says an analyst. Those in the most popular plan, AARP Medicare Rx Preferred, are in luck, however: Premiums for that plan are only rising 57 cents a month, the AP reports.

Not so for plans like the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan, whose premiums will jump 23%, or the First Health Part D Premier Plan, which will see an 18% hike. There will, however, also be a new, cheaper plan: The AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus Plan will cost an average of $15 a month in premiums—down $3.50 from today's cheapest plan—though it won't be universally available. "We continue to encourage seniors to shop around and find the plan that works best for them," says a Medicare rep. Indeed, when analysts factor in seniors switching plans, premiums remain about the same overall, the AP notes.

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